Why Won’t Men Say How They Feel After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are so frustrated that their husband is keeping his feelings in when he has cheated or had an affair. He might agree to explain how the affair happened. And, he may disclose at least a few of the circumstances surrounding it. He may even do what he’s asked to do as far as saving the marriage is concerned. But, often where he will stop short is when it comes to discussing his feelings. This can be extremely frustrating for his wife who can assume that he just doesn’t care.

I might hear a comment like: “my husband had a four month affair with a woman who was training him for his job. Once the training was over, the woman left the company to go and train another crew. I’m pretty sure that the affair only ended because they couldn’t see each other on a daily basis anymore. My husband didn’t really choose to end the affair. It ended because the job ended. My husband has agreed to try to save our marriage. I very much want to know how my husband feels now. I want to know how he felt about the other woman and what he is feeling for her now. I want to know how he feels about me and our marriage. But he will not talk about any of this. Every time I ask him about his feelings, he sort of shrugs and doesn’t have much to say. Or, he will try to change the subject. Why won’t men who have affairs talk about their feelings?”

I have several theories about why men keep their feelings to themselves in the days and weeks following the discovery of the affair. I will share them now.

He May Not Want To Encourage Your Questions: Most men hate being questioned about the affair. This is a very uncomfortable process and he is often quite embarrassed and ashamed of the answers to your questions. He often looks forward to the day when he won’t have to answer these questions anymore. So when you start asking him about his feelings, he can see this as the passage way to even more questions, which he wants to avoid.

He May Not Have All Of The Answers Because He Isn’t Sure How He Feels: Sometimes men hesitate to share their feelings with you because they aren’t clear about their feelings themselves. They are often feeling quite conflicting feelings. One day they may want to save their marriage without looking back and the next day, they may have doubts about this. So, they may be trying to stall sharing their feelings until they are actually sure as to what their feelings are.

He May See This As A Sign Of Vulnerability And Weakness: As I said before, men are often very embarrassed to be seen as a cheater and as a bad guy.  He doesn’t want for you to see him as less than you saw them before. Often, he doesn’t want for you to know that he is afraid, guilty, hesitant, or ashamed. Because he is afraid that if you even smell a little bit of fear, then you are going to pounce. It’s important for him to see that his sharing his feelings is necessary for you  because until he does this, it appears that he doesn’t trust you, that he doesn’t care, and that he is still hiding things.

He May Not Want To Hurt You Or To Add To Your Doubts: Often, the person who cheated is going to be the person who feels the need to clean up the mess. Since they caused the problem, they may feel the need to posture as if it is all going to be OK. But if they share they are scared, guilty, insecure, or doubtful, then obviously, they are no longer going to be able to successfully insinuate that everything is fine. Instead, you might see that they also have issues that need to be worked through.

How To Get Him To Share His Feelings: Unfortunately, you can’t force him to share his feelings. And often, if you try to threaten or guilt him into this, he will associate even more negative feelings with the whole process. I think that it is helpful to be very open about your own feelings and to keep asking him about his. When he shares anything with you, try to remain calm and receptive. That way, he will feel more comfortable to keep doing it. After a while and once he does it a few times, it won’t feel as uncomfortable any more.

But to answer the question posed, a man isn’t always being deceitful when he doesn’t share his feelings. Sometimes, he is struggling with his feelings as much as you are. And, he doesn’t want to show you how much he is struggling, so he keeps his feelings to himself.

You can heal your own feelings even he is initially hesitant to share his.  If it helps, you can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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